Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review > Morganics > Starter Set > Part One: Screw Ons

Morganics is a brand that we thought had been long lost to the depths, but it seems that they're still alive and kicking! We were contacted and asked if we wanted to see their starter set... simple question! Simple answer... "of course"

We didn't have any Morganics holds on the wall and as we've been looking at (and will continue looking at) starter sets for home walls, we were having a few weeks climbing on and reviewing screw on holds and we had a hole in our schedule it seemed like the perfect fit!

We're not looking at the full starter set here we're looking at just one facet of that starter set, this time we're looking at the screw on section. Starter sets are an interesting breed, they introduce climbers to a) your product b) allow them to get holds at a cheaper price and c) allow the climbers to populate their newly built climbing wall. This particular starter set has a bunch of bolt on holds it's basically a 50 hold set, we asked for the holds to be bagged separately so we can review them easily. The entire set looks like this:
Screws... check, bolts... check, 50 holds... check, a bunch of variety... check. Straight from the get-go we were looking at a bunch of holds... how to review them?? Thank god we asked for them to be bagged by the sets that make up this bunch otherwise it'd have been a nightmare :)

What we're looking at it the lime green holds in the middle of the picture and the larger green holds in the middle right of the image

You're going to get 15 tiny foot jibs (It's worth it to note that the screw on footholds set come n larger numbers when you order just them) and 10 larger screw on handholds, mainly from the Jugs Jibs Set A set. That's enough for a pretty good sized route on a home wall, so we set to work. Hand and feet on just the screw ons was the goal

Chris & Mark set the first route and it was a start on the 45, around the corner to the 30 and then a long chuck to the largest semi-jug like holds for the end. What looked like a simple sequence ended up involving a back-step into an undercut and then a throw to those final holds. People were eating a lot of mat that day, Noodles was so fired up that he didn't get the route early that he spent some extra time on the route... only to develop touretes syndrome.
One thing that was noted was that when setting with these screw ons they didn't have pre-drilled holes, they came with self taping screws, and not the good kind. They're not great and even leaning on the screws it still took a lot of time to get through the material to get them onto the wall.... so we resorted to using our normal self taping deck screws that just really cuts through the hold and is way faster or we ended up pre-drilling the holes with a normal drill bit. We're sure that having pre-drilled screw holes is a pain in the ass, we're positive of that fact, but if you're going to send really rubbish screws with the holds we'd rather you spent the time and drilled the holes and then gave us the bad screws so we don't have to spend time leaning on a drill.

After throwing himself at the wall Noodles got tired and took the holds down. The route ended up being around V4 and if people kept throwing themselves at it too much someone was getting injured... Eve refused to go near the route anymore because she didn't like the way they felt... it was time for a change.

Once Noodles had calmed down he went to work.
He failed to set anything easier, but he said he had an excuse!
He said that the sequence on the new route looked simpler... HA!

Route two (Keep it in mind we'd used these holds around the wall before we set these two main routes (we set lots before we set some routes we want to film)... well route two was basically a simple traverse from a sit down start to a match/undercut and then onto the side of the roof and then back down to the ground. The problem with this route was the feet, the screw on feet are really small although not as tiny as the Holdz screw ons and not as large as the Planet Holds footholds these are somewhere in the middle of those two and basically the way Noodles placed the holds on the vertical wall under the roof. He set a good foot sequence across the flat and then when you hit the side of the roof (on a pretty good incut jug) your weight is so compounded that you need to hit these other footholds that are slopey... i.e: you need to control the swing as you try to dink your foot onto a slope. Needless to say it was pretty hard (A top Canadian routesetter that was in the house (who may have urinated on Noodles fan) over one of the weekends said it was probably V5... maybe a little harder)

Again people were eating the pads.

So we took something from a starter set and basically set hard with it.... we pushed those holds as far as it was possible (or sensible) to go. People are stoked on the sends, we laughed at the fails and had a good time.


There is some good and some bad with these screw ons, it really depends upon which way you're looking at them from. If you look at someone that wants to put holds on a wall and therefore want to train then their a good set to look at. If you look for someone that is a beginner then the screw ons are probably a little too advanced for them.


The footholds are pretty small and despite most of the handholds being taken from the Jugs Jib set some of them are a little sharp and long training sessions on a home wall is almost almost out of the question. We had climbers that rock Double-V grades all the way down to beginners on the holds and there were some complaints after a couple of burns on everything but the simplest routes of some pain... not much, but some. Remember, what we filmed is some of the harder stuff we set, we kind of wanted to set hard so that's what we did and if that's what you want to do then go nuts... just be careful when setting huge moves or moves where your weight is totally on one hold.

The footholds will force you to use your feet, if footwork is something you lack then these are a great choice.

Handhold wise there are jugs, pinches and a couple of slopes in the 10 holds you're going to get. They do end up more on the juggy size considering that they are screw ons, but some of the holds are pretty thin and unless you have tiny hands some of them can't be really milked for all of their worth


  • Number of holds: 25
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Screw ons
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): This is a part of a starter set, we'll do the breakdowns in part three (The starter set is: $159.99)
  • Color: Footholds are a deep purple or orange / Handholds are all dark blue
  • Bolt placement: N/A
  • Sanding: Good
  • Hollow backed: No
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Pretty grippy
  • Set size: Small or XS
  • Versatility: Good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No!
  • Shaper: TBD
  • Weight: Super light
We'll look at the footholds and handholds separately:
Why did these guys come in two colors? The deep purple is really nice, it's like someone just grabbed the holds and threw them into a bag :) We always prefer all of the holds to be one color.. it's a minor point but something that has to be brought up

We're going to sound like a broken record here... but there are no pre-drilled holes and it's a real shame. Why? One of the holds got put onto the wall crooked and now it's useless.... it's one of those things but if there had been pre-drilled screw holes then it wouldn't have happened. The screws that were sent don't really do the job that they're made for very well and getting these holds onto the wall was a pain, moving them around was fine as we'd done the hard work, but it's something that should be looked at. We did manage to split a couple of the holds as we were putting them onto the wall, this is because we were leaning on the drill to get the screws to bite and because the screws are rubbish... it's good to note that any of the holds where we pre-drilled or used our trusty deck screws didn't break when the drill was on the same torque settings.
All of the holds do take two screws so there's no chance of them spinning on you.

Sanding is superb, you can see that they've all seen the rough side of some fast moving sandpaper and they all came to us nice and flat. If you're considering (we did) using these footholds as handholds then it's not something you can really do, they're all pretty slopey and small.


Again the sanding is not so bad, there were a few issues where they could have been sanded down a little more than they were and we won't re-mention our problems with screws or lack of screw holes

The color is a good blue, pretty standard but it doesn't have any light spots that we could see, texture-wise these guys are grippy... if you can get your fingers into some of the holds! There is a good mix of shapes here but some of the holds don't have nice rounded edges so your fingers sit nicely into the shape and some of them are thin so only people with tiny fingers are going to be able to milk to most out of them :( The slopers are nice and are really confidence inspiring, there were times where people where hauling on the smaller stuff and were way happier than when they were on some of the jugs.

All of the handholds take at least three screws so they're firmly attached to your wall so you also get no spinners and you can be sure that they're not going to rip on you. Morganics marks their holds with an raised letter M, so if you're digging through a bin of holds they're easy to identify.

Rigid Urethane

Very good

Tourettes eh? Well yeah, I'm not known for my polite language sometimes, it does get worse when I'm trying super hard to get something that I know is within my grasp. Way worse that's for sure.

I tried very very hard on both of the routes we filmed. Up to and beyond the point of injury :( The chuck on the first route has aggravated an old injury, nothing serious that doesn't go away after a while, and the second route (even though I shouln't have climbed it and I just used tape) has given me a sore shoulder. There's a lesson here people, a very simple lesson... LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and don't throw yourself at stuff that is kicking your ass... well OK, to a point throw yourself at it and then walk away, get some rest and then go back to it. Or in my case go away and set something that is harder and then throw yourself at that until the point where you can't lift you arm.

Yes, I'm an idiot.

Morganics was a brand that I thought had gone ass up, well until they mailed and wanted to let us review their holds. Even though we have a whole bunch of their holds right now for this starter review we decided to split them up and get up close and personal with a couple of sets at a time, then play with them all and then give you a more rounded, better picture of what your money is getting you. Part One is the screw ons and Part Two/Three will be the bolt ons, Part Three will include the overall on the entire set as a whole (that'll be a long old read)

So screw ons, we've run them for three weeks... Holdz, Planet Holds and of course the other sets we've done in the past (Revolution, Green Grip, Uncarved Block, Os'mose, and Atomik ) these holds are always going to find a place on a home wall but in this case I'm kind of 50/50 on them, not just because I find that they hurt more than I think that they should but because I think they could be a little thinner than they're actually needed to be. Needed is an interesting word to use, there is a reason why I used it though. Climbing, especially training shouldn't be that painful and the holds shouldn't be that sharp, of course there are going to be exceptions to this but I think that when most of the holds come from a jug set they should be more juggy and a little more friendly. A jug denotes maybe putting the hold onto a roof and in this case it's something you're not going to want to do because of thinness. Sure if someone with smaller fingers was putting them on a roof then they'd be laughing but even we didn't try to do this (Yeah sometimes we do draw a line in the sand)

What I am impressed with within this set is the variety and the quality of holds, we only broke the feet and then only a couple, we took them off the wall and re-set with them a whole bunch of times and they've held up, we've really hit some of them hard with our feet... stamping down on them from a swing and they've been solid. Sure we've heard some horror stories from around the place but we think that Morganics has come back, maybe with a tweaked mix, and have made some nice screw ons... it's just a shame I can't get my fingers into them like I'd like to :(

Overall? The footholds are challenging because of their slopey nature, the handholds are a little sharp for my liking and a little too thin for my fingers... I had a blast on them, injury or not, we set a bunch of very interesting stuff! Just wait til you see what we do with the bolt ons that make up the rest of this set... my Spidey Sense is tingling :)


Although I like the shapes and don't mind the shallow incut (hey are screw on holds and I'll take any incut I can get) I give them a thumbs down on the fact that the screw holes aren't bored out. Just imagine, you order your holds and are waiting gin anitcipation. The hold scome in two or three weeks later and when you want to get them on the wall, you have to go find a drill bit and bore the holes out.

So with the rant out of the way, I really like these shapes. They probably aren't for everyone and the y are quite small and painfull, but they do a go good job on our wall. The shapes remind me of some other shapes I climbed on at the gym but I find they resemble and would compliment Revolution shapes. They are very challenging on a boulder wall and it would be great set up on routes in a gym.

The footholds are great. I mean they aren't much to look at but have fun keeping a foot on some of these suckers and never mind getting a pad on the hold. In our last review, we climbed on the smallest screw on holds on the market and we managed to use them as crimps on problems. With the footholds in this set you can forget it. Out of the fifteen footholds there are very few you could get friction on.

Al in all, I think that even though they are familiar shapes, they have their own flavor but the fact that the screw holes weren't bored out was a very disappointing oversight for such nice holds.

The Screw on portion of this kit is pretty decent for climbing. The handholds are versatile enough to be used at almost all angles; except roofs if you’re a simple mortal. They feel good and I have to say the options and the quality of the problems we were able to make with them was not lacking. I’d be a bit cautious on slipping off of these and burning off your fingertips but with a bit of chalk I’m sure they’d become much more friendly and since they’re so positive, greasing off of them isn’t a big worry.

The footholds are simple and elegant, though some are a bit tricky since they are sloped and the texture isn’t out of this world sticky, but I like how you have to pay attention to your feet or otherwise you could pop off of them.

The main downside with these holds is the fact they aren’t pre-drilled. If you go and use the screws supplied it won’t be easy chewing your way through the hold and then some of the wall before your screw bites and pulls on its own. After having spent a long time installing very few holds on the wall, we decided to pre-screw them. A bit annoying and as we discovered, not a perfect procedure unless you can screw perfectly straight through the hold. In the end several of these holds were challenging to put on the wall and it was overall a real time killer and frustrator not to have nice pre-made holes.

Overall, they were pleasant holds to climb on, though the process of putting them up took away a lot from that.

  • Nice range of shapes
  • Technical footwork with the footholds.. you have to be precise
  • Light weight
  • No pre-drilled screw holes, we pre-drill them ourselves
  • Cheap zinc plated screws that don't drill through the material too well
  • Possibly cracking holds while screwing hand holds to wall
  • Some holds might be too thin for your fingers

1 comment:

Stefano said...

thank you guys for your work!...buone feste